Your Thoughts: Teachers Blogging

6 years ago

Pull out a chair and sit down with your cup of coffee. It's time to have a little talk. Today's discussion: teachers blogging.

A suspended English teacher who wrote negatively about her students on her blog will be returning to the classroom in a few weeks. Students at the school can request not to be in her classroom, and 60 students already have.

It's one things for blogging parents to call their own children lazy online, but it's quite another for their teacher to do the same... or is it?

Bloggers are often debating where the line is when writing about children. Is it okay to write about them as babies, but not so as elementary-school aged? Is it okay to tell embarrassing stories? To write about their foibles? To use their real name or their picture? Each person has a different line that they set for their own comfort level, and while we can obviously respect our own line, we are at the mercy of other people's lines when they write about our kids.

In other words, you may not be okay stating negative things about your child online, but you can't keep others from writing negatively about your child online.

The teacher didn't name the children, state her school, or even use her own full name (though she did use a picture). The case calls into question whether teachers should even have blogs at all, with students being savvy enough to usually find these types of private thoughts online. Part of the teacher-student relationship requires a modicum of space between the two parties, similar to a therapist. Is it distracting in the classroom for students to be reading a teacher's blog even if she doesn't write about them? For them to read her thoughts on major issues or to know that she had one too many glasses of wine at that bar as she reports to her readers?

I have to admit that as a former teacher, I respected the teacher Natalie Munroe's right to blog. I have to admit that as a current parent, I don't want their teacher writing about my children nor do I want my kids to know intimate details of their teacher's life. I am deeply bothered by the fact that Munroe still refuses to apologize. I don't think I'd be comfortable entrusting my children to an adult who can't recognize that other people may have a very different line from her on what they're putting about their child online. It's one thing to make a bad choice. It's quite another for parents to tell a teacher that she has crossed their line and for her to essentially say that she doesn't care.

My Fabulous Pursuit of Happiness delves into this question of whether it's okay for teachers to also be bloggers. She writes:

But I digress, like I said, it's tough not to write about things like my worries for the new school year, what I'm excited to do in the classroom, and general day-to-day happenings as a teacher. They take up so much of my brain space.

And I mean let's face the music here folks, if students or parents found this blog would it matter if I blogged about school at all? Because maybe, if parents and students found this blog and there was absolutely no mention of my teaching at all, they would still be freaked out by the fact that it's kind of an open book to a person that society can sometimes place on a pedestal of not being a person at all.

So what are your thoughts: should teachers have blogs? Is it okay for them to keep a personal blog even though they're a teacher, and moreover, is it okay for them to write about their job as a teacher? How would you feel if you discovered your child's teacher writing negative things about them online, even if your child isn't directly named? If you're a teacher and you blog, how would you feel if your students were reading your thoughts?

Photo Credit: Thanker212.

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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